Speed cameras can cause erratic driving by motorists, according to a survey released on Friday.
As many as 81 per cent of drivers said they looked at their speedometers rather than the road when a camera came into view, the poll by insurance company LV= revealed.
And five per cent admitted to braking suddenly when in sight of speed cameras, risking rear-end shunts.
The poll of 1532 drivers also showed that 31 per cent had witnessed an accident, or a near-miss, as a result of drivers’ erratic behaviour when faced with a camera.
Almost half (46 per cent) of those surveyed reckoned cameras diverted attention away from other areas of their driving, while 11 per cent believed cameras actually increased the risk of an accident.
Also, 46 per cent reckoned they existed only as a revenue raiser for the government.
As many as 91 per cent of those polled confessed to speeding, with 15 per cent exceeding limits on a regular basis and 69 per cent travelling at an average speed of 81 miles an hour on motorways.
Only nine per cent said they never went over the speed limit.
LV= insurance managing director John O’Roarke said speed cameras had been a feature on UK roads for almost 20 years.
“Yet the feedback from drivers is that while they may reduce speed, they also appear to impair driving ability or, at the least, concentration on the road,” O’Roarke said.
“As this report shows, some drivers behave erratically and, at worst, dangerously, around speed cameras.”
He said when driving, it was important to maintain a constant speed within the legal limits on the road.
“Excessive speed contributes to 12 per cent of all injury collisions, and we’d encourage drivers to stick to all speed limits and not wait for a camera to reduce their speed suddenly.”
AA president Edmund King said they believed far more crashes were avoided as a result of cameras than the few that might have been caused by sudden braking.
“Contrary to some perceptions about an alleged ‘war on the motorist’, the majority of drivers accept the use of speed cameras,” King said.
“Our last AA/Populus poll of almost 15,000 drivers showed that 69 per cent accepted the use of cameras.
He said they feared widespread scrapping of cameras may lead to more drivers ignoring the 30mph (50km/h) limits and therefore more crashes.